Monday, May 13, 2019

Rock, blues, soul, R&B and roots make for rich sonic stew

Outstanding new titles featuring Vintage Trouble, Southern Avenue, Leon Russell and Will Kimbrough are available now.

Artist: Vintage Trouble
Title: Chapter II - EP II (Ingrooves)
You might like if you enjoy: Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Gary Clark Jr.
Tell me more: For the countless thousands of "Troublemakers" who have grooved, danced and been swept away by Vintage Trouble's memorable performances opening for the legendary likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, AC/DC and the Dave Matthews Band or at the rock 'n' soul quartet's high-profile appearances at Coachella in 2013 or the Doheny Blues Festival in 2014, the great news is the band is set to perform at two Southern California festivals this weekend. Vintage Trouble will headline at the Joshua Tree Music Festival on May 18 and will return to the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point on May 19. Those upcoming performances come on the heels of the release of the band's fantastic new Chapter II - EP II, a 10-track title featuring five new studio songs and five forceful live cuts. The unbridled power and energy that Vintage Trouble brings to the stage with every performance has been difficult to fully capture on the band's commercial recordings; that is thankfully not the case with Chapter II - EP II," which finds singer Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson unleashing their genre-bending mix of rock, blues, soul and R&B with perfection. Taylor's incredible vocals are persuasive throughout including on the modern stylings of "Everyone is Everyone" and "Don't Stop Forever," the soulful rocker "Knock Me Out" and via two versions of the nuanced soulful ballad "So Sorry" (both the live and studio versions end with stellar guitar work courtesy of Colt). The disc ends with an artfully- and amped-up live version of the Beatles' "Come Together." Information:

Artist: Southern Avenue
Title: Keep On (Concord Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Rhiannon Giddens, Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tell me more: Tapping into Memphis soul, Southern blues and classic R&B, Southern Avenue continues to blend their rich influences as they create something decidedly new on their sophomore effort Keep On. Memphis-bred singer Tierinii Jackson's voice astounds via performances that are nuanced and creatively in tune with the songs. The rest of the excellent group includes Israel native Ori Naftaly (guitar), Tikyra Jackson (drums), and Jeremy Powell (keyboards). The album extols a sense of exuberance and joy, whether songs are explosive ("Keep On," "Switchup," "Jive"), anthemic ("We Are Not So Different," She Gets Me High") or make their poignant mark as soulful ballads ("We're Gonna Make It," "Lucky"). Southern Avenue will perform at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point on May 19. Information:

Artist: Leon Russell
Title: Live at Gilley's (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Leon Russell, Elton John, Sam Bush
Tell me more: Leon Russell and his New Grass Revival Band were in prime form when they were recorded at the celebrated Gilley's nightclub in Pasadena, Texas on Sept. 17, 1981. Brandishing the troupe's so-called "rhythm and bluegrass" style, Russell (who sadly passed away at the age of 74 in November 2016) and his five-man outfit shine across this wonderful must-hear release (Live at Gilley's). Among the many standout moments on the 12-track recording are the beautiful piano-anchored ballad "Lady Blue," countrified blues Southern rocker "In the Pines," bluegrass-on-speed take of Bill Monroe's "Uncle Pen," and signature Russell originals "A Song For You" and "Prince Of Peace." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's vocals are emotive and astound across the disc. Information:

Artist: Will Kimbrough
Title: I Like It Down Here (Daphne)
You might like if you enjoy: Tom Petty, Chris Hillman, John Mellencamp
Tell me more: Nashville-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Will Kimbrough is not a household name  he should be. Based on the power and ambitious reach displayed across his newly-released masterwork I Like It Down Here (the Alabama native's 9th solo release since 2000!), fans of authentic Americana and heartland rock 'n' roll will all find plenty to admire in his original songcraft and stellar musicianship. The great material ranges from the Tom Petty-flavored "Hey Trouble" and gritty blues of "Buddah Blues" to the melodic "I'm Not Running Away" and probing "Anything Helps." The moving and sparse "Alabama" finds Kimbrough's voice joined by that of blues singer Shemekia Copeland as they chronicle the lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama in 1981. In addition to Copeland, other guests include singer Savana Lee Crawford, Brigitte DeMeyer and Dean Owens. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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